St. Valentine was a Roman martyr and priest who died in the year 270. His name has come to be associated with the pagan celebration in honor of love on February 14. He is regarded as the patron Saint of unhappy lovers; and love messages sent on February 14 are called Valentines after him.
According to legend, St. Valentine was beheaded on February 14 in Rome. The old notion was that birds began to mate on that day and thus arose the custom of young persons of both sexes choosing each other as Valentines for the coming year and sending love messages to each other.
Today, the legends are all but forgotten, though the warm, sincere messages of love through the mail carry on. Though this day is not as special to Davy Jones as it once was, still he can recall the wonderful childhood days when it meant a great deal.
Like all school children, Davy would send a Valentine or two to his favorite people. But unlike American children who exchange Valentines with all their classmates at school, Davy exchanged them only within his family.
He remembers, “In England when you get anything, you hold on to it, you don’t start exchanging. This is why we kids didn’t spend any of our money, if we had some at all, on Valentines. My sisters used to send me Valentines through the mail even though we lived in the same house. It was such a thrill to have the postman bringing me some mail. And I always sent one to my mother.
“I sent a Valentine to my sister, and it’s something I’ll never forget. It’s one of those things that sticks in your mind always. At the time we were living in a small house and we had to bathe in the kitchen sink. You don’t figure someone would really have to wash in the sink, but we did. So for Valentine’s Day I found a card for my sister that said.
My dearest darling ducky.
I like you clean or mucky.
I like you best in your vest.
Darling, darling ducky.
“That’s all it was, but the reason it was so funny to us was that I always used to walk in the kitchen by accident while my sisters were washing. I’d say, ‘Oh, no!’ and they’d be standing there half naked and they’d yell at me to get out!”
Sending cards, for David, was really just a traditional thing to do until he met his first love. He was 14 and she was 13. Her name was Ailsa Payne and she had long black hair and a beautiful complexion. She was the lucky girl who received Davy’s first “love” Valentine.
When David was last in England he thought of Ailsa whom he hasn’t seen since he was 14. Even though he was a Monkee and constantly being mobbed, he thought how much he wanted to stand on the corner near her house and see if she might walk past. Davy says, “Now Valentines Day is more of a kid’s thing. It’s like Santa Claus, for when you’re young.” Perhaps that’s true, but he can’t deny the curiosity he feels about his first Valentine love—a love he’ll always cherish.